Birthplace of the beckoning cat

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Imado-jinja Shrine also famous for bringing luck in love

The figurine of a beckoning cat, called maneki-neko, is a familiar lucky charm in Japan. One legend says that it dates back to the Edo period (1603–1868), when an old woman living in Asakusa dreamed of her late cat. It told her to make it into a figurine, and it will bring her fortune. The woman did as told and made an Imado-yaki figurine, and this was the first maneki-neko. Imado-yaki is a type of unglazed porcelain formerly produced in the neighborhood of Imado. Imado-jina Shrine, housing the monument “Birthplace of Imado-yaki,” is also the birthplace of the beckoning cat. Visitors flock to see the pair of giant cats 70 centimeters tall, “pet” the stone cats said to grant wishes, and write prayers on small wooden plaques with the edges rounded off so that feuds “settle smoothly.” The deities enshrined here are Izanagi-no-mikoto and Izanami-no-mikoto, a couple famous for bringing luck in love. If your New Year prayer includes prosperity and matchmaking, this is the perfect shrine to visit.

Imado-jinja Shrine


1-5-22 Imado, Taito-ku, Tokyo



Regular holidays



15-min. walk from Tobu Line / Toei Asakusa Line / Tokyo Metro Ginza Line Asakusa Station

Contact information

TEL 03-3872-2703 * Japanese-speaking staff only

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Daikon and kinchaku symbolizing happiness
Honryuin Temple (Matsuchiyama Shoden)

The daikon radish is a symbol of harmony between married couples, matchmaking, and fertility. And the kinchaku bag represents thriving business. Honryuin is a curious temple decorated with both of these motifs. At the main hall is a heap of daikon offered by visitors praying for the god Shoden to cleanse their body of impurities. The temple offers cute amulets bearing the kinchaku and daikon motifs.

●Address: 7-4-1 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo
●Hours: 6:30-16:30 
* 6:00–16:30 from April 1 to September 30
●Regular holidays: None
●Access: 10-min. walk from Tobu Line / Toei Asakusa Line / Tokyo Metro Ginza Line Asakusa Station
●Contact information: TEL 03-3874-2030 * Japanese-speaking staff only